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  • Software - Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
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  1. Hey everyone! This is something a little different. Over the last year, I've been working on a program called SEQ64, which edits, imports, and exports music from first-party N64 games. Armed with this tool, I've been making some music for Project Beta Triforce, an Ocarina of Time mod. This music has to fit the limitations of OoT's music engine, since after being produced in a DAW, it has to be imported into the game's internal MIDI-like format (and in most cases, instrument banks have to be edited to match the instruments used in the song). The director of PBT asked for an arrangement of some themes from Zelda II to fit the battle with Dark Link which will be a centerpiece of the mod. So I arranged the battle theme and the palace theme. After much tweaking of the arrangement to sound as good as possible when imported and playing in game, here's the results: In-game version Studio version (playing with patches ripped from OoT) (See descriptions for Soundcloud links and downloads) Unless the judges suggest otherwise, I'm not planning to submit this to OCR. After all, I'm trying to hit the quality standards of 1998, not of 2015! On the other hand, we have ReMixes made solely on retro hardware (sloopygoop's "I Don't Know Who I Am Anymore" comes to mind), so I'm not sure if this would be a similar case.
  2. Regarding the question of OC ReMix standards: If those are the only two factors you can think of offhand that separate OCR from film music, that's plenty high-quality for me! Correct me if I'm wrong, but those seem to be relatively minor factors that someone would be able to pick up quickly if they had experience and skill with everything else. Well said. I think I'm almost at the latter level, of course nowhere near the former--but I want to be as good as I can be. The only way I can see myself "pushing myself too hard" would be giving up because my (or OCR's) standards were too high and I got frustrated. I can't listen to these right now, but of course there will be--just like there will be original music of all kinds that goes way beyond OCR standards, and game music that goes beyond OCR standards--and occasionally even OC ReMixes that do! (To avoid namedropping "The Impresario" again, I'll go with "Lullaby of the Sky".) There are posted remixes (from a long time ago) that are played directly on free soundfonts with no post-production, and even a few that use samples from Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth (the default MIDI instrument in Windows). I don't by any means blame those ReMixers; in many cases I like the ReMix anyway (I have the very harp soundfont that DarkeSword used for the opening of "Legendary Hero", which I think is the #2 or #3 most played OC ReMix counting YouTube reuploads), and better technology was not as available (nor as good, of course) back then. But nowadays things have changed. I've been doing a lot of 16-bit arranging over the last few months, since I've been doing music for Ocarina of Time 2D. I don't think a remix made that way will get you posted, but it's a lot of fun. Regarding the question of how to humanize: Basically I feel like I'm usually in a position where I've worked on a part, and I've gotten it to sound the least bad as best I can, but it still doesn't really sound good. Like, I'm picking articulations, they all sound awful in the context except for one, and that one sounds okay but not great; so I pick it, sweeten it with a little CC dynamics, and move on, because there's not much other choice I have. Has anyone else felt similarly about a virtual instrument they're using? I think at this point I'm just going to look into a live performer, but a few months down the line I might be open to buying some more virtual instruments (not more than a couple hundred dollars, though), if anyone has any suggestions.
  3. Thanks everyone for your extensive replies! I will try to address each of the points, but I might miss something. Since some of the points were restated in different ways, instead of quoting a particular person I will just summarize. Yeah, I noticed! Not gonna give up though. In a general way, this isn't too much of a problem for me; I was classically trained on oboe, and I've been in a variety of bands and orchestras over the years. I've also written a few string quartets, two of which were performed by live musicians at my previous college. However, it wouldn't hurt to spend some more time listening to this kind of music. I'm not so sure about this. I've heard arrangements of game music by people who do make a living from arranging music, which didn't sound as good as most recent OC ReMixes. There's a handful of ReMixers whose music I know outside OCR as well; only their very best tracks are posted here. Finally, there's people like Jake Kaufman who do excellent work professionally, and then come here to drop a bombshell like The Impresario. My impression is that if someone can consistently pass the judges panel here, they can make it in the real world. I suppose. I would wonder how a professional would remember all the best settings for hundreds of instrument plugins--but I guess there's only a handful they use on a regular basis, and they'd be used to figuring out the others. But I am happy to see, as Neblix pointed out, that there's movement in the right direction with this. I do have the EWQL Solo Violin (the version in the Gypsy pack), and I've used it--it is very nice. However, all the other instruments in the collection I have, don't work like that. You get a choice of the "Keyswitch Master" configuration, where each articulation is switchable; the "Elements" configuration, where you can mix different articulations (but that mixture is unchangeable!), and the "DXF Mod Wheel" configuration, where the mod wheel controls expression (but there's no articulations). I usually use the "Master" configuration, since that gives me the most flexibility; but that means that the mod wheel is unavailable, and it's impossible to combine articulations. This configuration does include several legato scripted articulations, but they're all just a different starting note followed by the same legato notes. For instance using "Exp Leg" the first note is the "Exp Long" articulation and all the rest are the legato notes; using "Lyr Leg" the first note is the "Lyrical" articulation and all the rest are the legato notes (same as the others). Most of the time what happens is I write in a part, pick the articulations that would seem to fit, throw in some CC 11, listen to it. It doesn't sound like a real person; I pick a note that sticks out, and scroll through articulations until I find one that doesn't sound as bad, and repeat. The result is something that doesn't sound as bad as it did to start, but it also doesn't sound really good.
  4. Hey everyone. In all the remixes I've worked on in the past couple years, one recurring comment I've received is that the instrument sounds don't sound realistic. (For instance my current remix I'm working on, http://ocremix.org/forums/showthread.php?t=49125 , where the cello is the issue.) I can sort of see what they're talking about, in so far as I wouldn't think "oh, that cello sounds like a live performer!", but I also can't put my finger on anything in particular that sounds wrong with it. My first question is this. OC ReMix has a policy (at least people on the forums will cite this) that you don't have to pay for expensive virtual instruments to make a posted ReMix. I tried that a few years ago; the first draft of Melodies of Mabe Village (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02951) was played on a bunch of free SoundFonts, and it didn't even make it to the judges panel. So I did buy some expensive virtual instruments--the EastWest Complete Composers Collection (the first one). Eventually I did get that ReMix posted, but I've struggled this whole time. And I'm not expecting that the price tag on the samples will excuse me from having to do any work on humanization: I do have a large amount of humanization, for instance, for that cello above, each note has a custom articulation and volume CCs throughout. But evidently this isn't good enough, I just get "humanize the cello more". My question is, if free SoundFonts with little-to-no humanization are "supposed to" be good enough, how are professional cinema-quality samples with extensive humanization not good enough? Instead of "humanize the cello more", they must mean "humanize the cello differently"--but I don't know how to do that. For that matter, how do the pros do it? I can't imagine someone who writes film scores 8 hours a day sitting there fiddling with CCs and scrolling through articulations trying to find one that doesn't sound awful. They must just write in the notes, and the computer plays it, and that's that. Do they have some sort of middleware that "plays" the virtual instrument, sending it articulation and dynamics data? Or do they just keep buying more and more expensive virtual instruments until their parts sound good? My second question is, since I don't think I can do much better with that cello on that piece, and since the Mod Review recommended I try to get a live performer, where would I find one of those?
  5. Thanks, I'll play with it a little. I don't plan to change it too much, as that's a sort of "breath" point halfway through. It also marks the return to the first source tune, which now has additional development in the form of the Zelda themes on top. Also, bumping due to Mod Review not having happened yet.
  6. You can PM a mod and ask for a mod review.

  7. It's been a week with no new comments, and I'm pretty satisfied, so bumping and changing to Mod Review.
  8. This is great news! OC ReMix has such a variety of sounds, I sometimes just want to listen to a bunch of songs all in a style I know, and it's great that you've been able to distill these into three comprehensive genres. I'm interested to know more about what's going on behind the scenes. Will you ever be releasing your analysis code? Does this integrate with the ID3 genre tags on the mp3s themselves? I want my collection on my computer to reflect these tags, of course.
  9. Updated version: https://soundcloud.com/sauraen/at-the-bottom-of-twilight-6 Took care of the Rhodes frequency buildup, the bass clashing, and came up with an arrangement for that section 1:37 to 2:02 that I'm satisfied with. I think I'm getting better at this; the last few things you've mentioned, I feel like I sort of half noticed them beforehand, or noticed but didn't really know what the problem was or what to do. Thanks! I'm pretty confident with how it sounds now; setting it to Finished. Anything else sticking out? Any new voices want to chime in? (Your help has been greatly appreciated, timaeus222, especially with the mixing/mastering, but variety in feedback is helpful too!)
  10. I needed it to start with an uppercase letter, and there could not be any spaces. The only valid one on that list then is OCR, which stands for Optical Character Recognition among other things, and someone might not know what OCRUpdater was. I did try to consistently use "OC ReMix" in the documentation and Javadoc. Also, the repository name is just about the only thing I can't modify here!
  11. Okay! Here you go: https://github.com/sauraen/OCRemixUpdater I'd be happy to modify this program, or write a new one, to use a real API. Parsing HTML using string matching in Java is not exactly leet. (I wrote this three years ago, give me a break.) The upside of this is, if you ever want everyone around the world to stop using OCRemixUpdater, you just have to add a couple HTML comments <!-- --> in some key lines in the source of the "list remixes by date descending" page, and everyone's copies will stop working! If there are any bugs or problems with the program, please let me know and I will get them fixed as soon as I can. Edit: Getting internal server errors when trying to post text here that contains the URL of the "list remixes by date descending" page. Is it trying to follow the link and failing, or something?
  12. New version: https://soundcloud.com/sauraen/at-the-bottom-of-twilight-draft-5 Good catch, thanks! It was what I was intending at the time (not an error), but after you pointed it out I played with it and eventually settled on something a little less dissonant. I'm not entirely satisfied with it, but I can see why the way it was might be problematic. Fixed, thanks! I had just copied one line and pasted it an octave up with a delay... I changed it to match the timings I would play if I was actually playing it in octaves on a piano. I see what you mean. I changed it more significantly in one section, and adjusted the levels so those chords are more in the background later, with other accompaniment parts (e.g. harp) forward. However, removing or changing the pattern entirely made it sound disconnected from the whole. I think this is a better balance than what I had before. Thank you for the comments! Any major things still standing out? Still too repetitive? Is it mixed okay? It now sounds pretty good on both headphones and monitors, but I can't always tell on my setup if the low end is good.
  13. EDIT: Link: https://github.com/sauraen/OCRemixUpdater Hey everyone. A couple years ago I wrote a program (in Java, ugh) that would keep my numbered OC ReMix collection up to date. I just dug this program out again because I wanted to download the latest Jillian Aversa song, and I figured I'd download all of them since OCR3000 while I was at it. The program maintains a very simple database of numbered ReMixes the user has in a folder on their computer. It automatically reads the remix listings at http://ocremix.org/remixes/?&offset=0&sort=datedesc , and will download songs the user doesn't have from a random mirror, with a random amount of wait time between them (to reduce server load). It knows about the file name conventions used on mix names, so in most cases it doesn't have to check each mix's page before downloading it, it can guess the file name based on the database information. It will yell at the user if they are trying to download mixes that are available by torrent. It's stable and works decently well, despite being written in Java. And the current database file, which would be distributed with the program, is up-to-date, so users don't have to download the whole thing again. I suspect there are other people who would find this very convenient. However, I didn't want to distribute it without permission from the mods. Should I put up a link here (or somewhere else)? Do you want to evaluate it first? It'll be GPL licensed so the source code will come with it, in case anyone is concerned about malicious code. Sauraen
  14. Updated version: https://soundcloud.com/sauraen/at-the-bottom-of-twilight-remix-draft-4 Thanks Emunator and Elder Kirby for the criticism and suggestions! I was also fortunate enough to receive some feedback and encouragement from Josh Whelchel, which was very nice! Do you think I addressed your suggestions adequately? The changes I made to the percussion were not drastic, but each of the sections now has a unique rhythm behind it, and the first couple have more dynamic variety as well. I am pretty happy with the sound design at the beginning, but not so much with the end. There's too many birds! I couldn't find a sample that wasn't a giant chattering chorus. I wanted something more like the dawn sounds in Zelda games. Do you have any suggestions? I don't blame you for not knowing a Spanish Cimbalon by ear (I wouldn't have either, it's just a nice patch I found when rifling through an ethnic collection)--but you don't know a Fender Rhodes when you hear one? (Good catch on that note, though, thanks.)
  15. Thanks for your comments! Everything you mentioned should be helpful. Boy, those drum parts... The judges really nailed me on my last submission (Xenogears "Final Convergence") for the drum parts being too repetitive. On this piece here, what you're hearing is the drum parts AFTER I added variety to them--you should have heard it before! I suppose I just have to retrain my ears on that. I guess I tend to treat drums as an ostinato that holds together the various sections; but I just went back and listened to a few of my favorite OC ReMixes, specifically listening for changes in the drum parts, and they all have a lot more variety than my arrangements. Just for fun, I'll try putting in what seems to me as TOO much variety, and see what others think! Also, do you have any suggestions for how to do sound design? I've never tried it. I was going to rip some environment/ambience samples from Ocarina of Time and use them, just because that's the only place I know to get them from. My fancy sample library has hundreds of instruments, but they forgot the crickets! But there must be places online; I've looked at freesound.org but the quality tends to be pretty poor.
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